It is a common myth that important elections only take place every four years. Local Elections take place every two years, sometimes every year. Local elections generally have lower voter turnout, so your vote can make a huge difference. One (1) vote can be the deciding factor in a candidate or measure passing. Voting in local elections affect you more directly than County, State, or Federal Elections. Let your voice be heard.
Your local leaders, the Mayor and City Council decide what local laws (Ordinances) and policies (Resolutions) to make on behalf of their constituents (residents). These include land use issues, new developments in the city, housing, transportation, sanitation, animal control – how many pets you can have. They also have the final approval of the City’s Budget, what programs and areas the money is spent. Whether to subsidize Cultural Arts programs or Recreation classes or to invest in parks or libraries.
The Mayor will represent the interests of the City at County, State, and Federal conferences and events, advocating on behalf of their city.
Mayor and Council may hire the City Manager, City Attorney, or the Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director of the City. These are key positions in the City, with a lot of responsibility to the residents.
There are two types of cities, Charter and General Law. Charter Cities follow their Charter and have more autonomy. Charter Cities adopt their own procedures for municipal affairs according to their population. Charter cities are still subject to the same state laws as general cities. General Law cites are bound by the state’s general law.
Remember to do your homework before voting. Research your candidates by reviewing their campaign statements, reading what they stand for on their websites, and attending candidates forums to listen to what they say and meet the candidate in person. Remember, people fought for the right to have their voices heard, get out and vote!